More Fake Twitter Followers Than You May Think

I'm so naive. Turns out, about 30% of ESPN's, CNN's, and Lady Gaga's Twitter followers are fake. Of Twitter's own followers, only 23% are considered "good": neither fake nor inactive. An infographic compiled by Social Selling University gives us a few examples.

Fake Followers

According to Status People, a social media management company, "at least 11,283 Twitter users have purchased more than 72,000 fake followers." Followers are easy to buy: a Google search reveals many companies willing to sell you fake followers at the bargain price of $2 and $55 per 1,000. However, The New York Times reported one example of a marketing company buying 250,000 for just a penny each.

The pricier options look more authentic than the cheaper versions. To make Twitter profiles appear real, sellers follow real and random people and post tweets.

With its "Fake Follower Check," Status People will tell you how many fake and real followers you and others have on Twitter. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have bought their share of followers, according to Social Selling University.

Twitter is cracking down on fake followers, but at least for now, the practice persists.

Discussion Starters:

  • If you wanted to garner support for your Twitter feed, would you consider buying followers? Why or why not?
  • What does having fake followers do to the credibility of Twitter? Do you think this practice is a serious threat, no big deal, or something else?
  • Do you consider the practice ethical? Why or why not?